Meditations 11.15:

“The despicable phoniness of people who say, “Listen, I’m going to level with you here.” What does that mean? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead. It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face and takes in the whole story at a glance. A straightforward, honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it. But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst. Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

This is the emperor of Rome talking. He doesn’t have time for superficial niceties and flat-out phoniness. And neither should we.

I can’t get over how direct and raw and real Marcus’s language is. This little book is such a treasure.

And to his point above, don’t you love people who shine with integrity and authenticity? It takes courage to not play the games that most people expect, to speak clearly and honestly and to do right no matter the consequences.